On the 11th of April 14 St Peter’s students and staff set off on a cultural tour of Vietnam. After an 11-hour flight they arrived in the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi. It was a real eye opener from the very beginning as the infrastructure of Hanoi was a little less organised than we are used to. The city has 9 million people and they all seem to drive scooters with no road rules whatsoever.
From Hanoi we journeyed to Ha Long Bay to take an overnight cruise on an old style Vietnamese Junk. While onboard we experienced local delicacies and the beautiful scenery which is recognised as a UNESCO world heritage.
After Ha Long Bay we travelled further south to the center of the country where we stayed at the cities of Hue and Hoian both steeped in history 1000s of years old as they used to be the two most important cities in Vietnam. They were also where a lot of the most intense fighting was during the Vietnam War in the 60s and 70s and the scars of this conflict are everywhere.
After the center of the country we moved south again to Ho Chi Minh city which is Vietnam’s second biggest city. There we travelled to Cu Chi which is an amazing tunnel complex that was used to shelter Viet Cong soldiers during the Vietnam War. All over were huge bomb craters and you could fire machine guns and rifles to get the experiences soldiers had during the conflict.
We also stayed a night at a small village on the Mekong Delta a huge network of rivers and canals, the only way around was by small boats, there we were treated to a cooking lesson and some more beautiful food.
The whole way through Vietnam it was hot averaging around 35-37 degrees and we learned to appreciate air conditioning very quickly.
We experienced a very unique and diverse culture very different to our own and it would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the support of our wider school community and parents – so we thank them for that.